A “holistic” professional services multi-disciplinary practice aimed at filling the “advice gap” for “underserved SMEs” is currently in process of acquiring two commercial law firms, its co-founder has revealed.
Adam Maurice, a tech entrepreneur, said Fusion Consulting Group had secured “significant funding” for acquisitions from specialist lender SME Capital and was aiming to double its staff from 35 to up to 80 over the next year as it kicked off a ‘buy and build’ strategy.
Fusion was founded in 2015 by Mr Maurice and tax specialist Mitch Young. Based in London, with a back office in South Africa, it provides tax, accountancy, financial advice and legal services, along with digital marketing and business consulting. It has grown to date in part through acquisitions.
Mr Maurice said that until now Fusion had provided unregulated legal services such as advice on mergers and acquisitions, commercial contracts, shareholder agreements and non-contentious employment law.
The company now wanted to move into providing regulated legal services through alternative business structures regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Mr Maurice said the SME market was “underserved”, leaving entrepreneurs with a choice between “small firms that just don’t have the capability” and “big firms which are just too costly”.
He said Fusion was not looking for “large PLC clients” but “business owners with fast-growing firms who want 360-degree advice”.
Mr Maurice would not disclose the amount of funding Fusion had received from SME Capital, but he said it was “significant” and would be used to buy law firms, with the first deal completing in around three months.
He said the ideal size of law firm they were targeting was three to 10 partners, and Fusion was also looking to acquire accountants and financial advisers.
“The landscape of legal services is changing. It’s on the same path as us. It’s more about advice and holistic services than terms and conditions.”
Mr Maurice explained that the “whole idea” of Fusion was to provide joined-up advice; the “advice gap” was caused by the traditional separation between tax advisers, accountants, solicitors, financial and business advisers.
“If all the professional advisers are separate, the client ends up being the conduit, and having to make sure, for example, that the tax advice marries up to the financial advice.
“When everyone is speaking to each other, it’s much more of a collaborative 360-degree process.
“We’re not going to charge clients because the solicitor is speaking to the accountant. Clients are better looked after under one roof. For the SME space, it’s a unique proposition.”
Mr Maurice said both he and his co-founder Mr Young had experienced the “non-joined-up approach” for themselves.
Mr Young said Fusion was one of the first firms in the UK to offer “holistic” advice specifically targeted at SMEs and entrepreneurs.
“Our offering ticks the boxes for what the next generation of entrepreneur is looking for by providing a blend of expert advisory and technology to add value and help them achieve their goals.”
Ronnie Sarkar, chief executive and chief investment officer of SME Capital, commented: “Adam and Mitch and their team are so entrepreneurial. They deliver immense quality to their clients and will bring much-needed disruption to the professional services sector.”
There is a session looking at the multi-disciplinary practice trend at the Legal Futures Innovation Conference on 16 November in London.